Oh the Places You’ll Go

Photography by CapCity Sports Media (capcitysportsmedia.com)May 26 is a special day for me.  Seven years ago on May 26, 2010, I started a journey that has seen me log over 14,500 miles over the past 2,557 days, make countless new friends and experience many new adventures.

It all started by simply lacing up some old gym shoes and going for a run.

I was 38 years old and 235 pounds and knew that I needed to do something to get in better shape.  Yes, I had run one not so stellar season of track way back in eighth grade.  Any other running was seen as a necessary evil as conditioning for the other sports I played.  However, on this spring day, I decided that my jeans weren’t fitting so well and I needed to make a change so I went for a run.

That first run lasted all of two miles and the pace was nothing spectacular to document.  In fact, the speed walk that I did this morning at a 10:47 pace per mile was probably just about as fast as that first run seven years ago.  I found out just how out of shape I was.

But, I came back the next day and did it again.  And little by little over time the running clicked and I started to enjoy it.  I ran my first race three months later and was hooked and also discovered what a great social event running could be as well.  I finished with 559 miles by the end of 2010 and set my sights on going for 1,000 miles in 2011.

Fast forward to today.  I actually haven’t run for eight weeks now due to a stress fracture of the second metatarsal in my left foot.  This is the same foot that I broke back in 2015 (fifth metatarsal that time) when I missed 12 weeks of running.  However, I’ve started my comeback with fast walking miles and even won a 3000 meter race walk last Sunday with a time of 19:32.  I can’t wait to finish my rehab and get back to running full strength in the days ahead.  In the meantime, I’ve become a little more well-rounded by doing some strength training nearly every day for the first time in my life in addition to swimming and biking the last few weeks.  Cross training is so important to not only be the best runner that you can be, but also to stay as healthy as possible.

Some of the highlights over the past 12 months for me included an age group win at the Lake Michigan Half Marathon last June, a Boston Qualifying time of 3:14:09 and negative split second half at the Chicago Marathon in October, a second-place overall finish at the Hangry 4-Miler in November, a then new PR 1:29:40 in the Cleveland Fall Classic Half Marathon in November, an age group win at the Thanks 4 Giving 4-Miler on Thanksgiving, a PR and age group win at the 5th Line 5K in 18:13 in February, and a new PR of 1:27:49 at the Warm Up Columbus Half Marathon also in February.  I also logged my first 3,000-mile year with 3,021 miles for the 2016 calendar year.

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I also got to vary my running routes up thanks to all the traveling I do for work.  Nashville has become one of my favorite cities to run in and I also added Summerville, SC, Owensboro, KY and Bowling Green, KY to my list this year thanks to new Donatos locations opening there.  One of my most memorable runs was at sunrise over the Cooper River Bridge, which hosts one of the largest 10K races in the country each year.  Just one of the many sunrises that I was blessed to see as one of the biggest rewards of my pre-dawn running.

Here’s a year-by-year look at my mileage totals for the past seven years:

2010 – 559

2011 – 1818

2012 – 1497

2013 – 2221

2014 – 2488

2015 – 2125

2016 – 3021

2017 so far – 783

And a few other facts and figures from the past seven years:

Total States Run In – 17 (Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.)

Different Shoes – Asics Gel Kanbarra (3 pair), Asics Nimbus (16 pair), Adidas Boost (2 pair), Puma Ignite, New Balance 980, New Balance Vazee, Mizuno Wave Rider (2 pair)

Marathons – 11

Half Marathons – 15

Complete List of Races – Athlinks Page

As I get ready to start my eighth year as a runner, I can’t wait to see what the future holds and what new states I can add to my list.  I already have a qualifying time for the 2018 Boston Marathon and would also love to get into the New York City Marathon.  I am also excited to be part of Rogue Racers and look forward to representing them in my upcoming races.

As I close this look back over the past year on the run, I can’t help but think about these words penned by the incomparable Dr. Seuss:

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Here’s hoping we cross paths in the days ahead!  Just lace up your shoes and get out there with me.  The adventures are endless.

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Cooper River Bridge in Charleston, SC at sunrise
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